The Biden administration is in the midst of setting the terms for its program of price controls on prescription drugs dispensed through Medicare. The first 10 medicines subject to the price caps will be selected by the end of this year.
That prospect is already chilling investment in drug research, particularly in small-molecule drugs. This category of medicines, which are generally chemically synthesized, includes everything from aspirin to certain cancer drugs. The implications of this slowdown in research and development could be disastrous for patients.
These price controls are the heart of the Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law in August of last year. The law allows the federal government to dictate prices for 10 brand-name drugs dispensed through Medicare Part D, the prescription drug benefit for seniors, starting in 2026.